Matthew and the Atlas, the project led by British songwriter Matt Hegarty, has traversed a range of musical territories from classic acoustic folk, to dramatic synth-laden electronica, and urgent guitar led alt-rock. The common thread across Hegarty's three LPs (Other Rivers, Temple, Morning Dancer), and the four stripped back EPs that preceded and followed them has been a songwriting style that marries a subtle melodic sensibility with lyrics full of natural imagery and dark emotional heft. In the process, Hegarty has quietly built a major cult following in Europe and the US, which has seen Q Magazine dub him the "British Bon Iver".
As part of the Communion Records family (Matthew and The Atlas’ debut EP was the label’s first ever release), Hegarty toured his early releases extensively and internationally with the likes of Mumford and Sons, Bear’s Den, Civil Wars and others around Europe and the US. That early touring, and a passionate word-of-mouth fan base, has taken Hegarty’s music around the world and close to 100m streams across all his releases.
Matthew and the Atlas' new LP, Morning Dancer, sees Hegarty recording for the first time with his full five-piece touring band and Bristol-based producer Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Youth Lagoon, Gruff Rhys). Recorded and mixed in an intensive six-week stint, the record has familiar elements - the energy and intensity of the live show, stripped and delicate confessional moments, and touches of the synth heavy drama that characterized his debut. To that mix, Chant and Hegarty have added flourishes of brass and woodwind and a playful looseness to the production and arrangements that takes the songs and Hegarty’s voice to a new place altogether.